Owen Coyle loses his grip at the Reebok and is sacked by Bolton Wanderers


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The Independent Football

Owen Coyle has been sacked as manager of Bolton Wanderers, two-and-a-half years after taking charge.

The announcement was made on Bolton's official Twitter feed, which stated: "Bolton Wanderers announce that Owen Coyle has been relieved of his duties as manager. #BWFC"

Saturday's defeat at Millwall, which left the club in 18th position in the Championship with just three wins from 10 games, prompted a meeting with owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside yesterday.

It was thought the former Burnley manager would remain in charge beyond the international break, but with the prospect of playing third-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough away, after facing Bristol City at home, left the 46-year-old with a grim battle to hold on to his job, which it would appear the owners felt he was not up to fighting. Despite that, owner Phil Gartside placed on record his thanks.

"Owen poured his heart and soul into the job on and off the pitch. He led our club with great dignity during challenging times," he said. "I would like to place on record our thanks to Owen, Sandy Stewart and Steve Davis for all their hard work during their time.

Gartside last month said Bolton were looking for an average of two points per game in their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League, and that he and Coyle were putting themselves under "100 per cent pressure" to ensure they went back up.

Coyle retained many of his best playing assets in an attempt to secure that promotion, helped by the prospect of the improved top-flight television deal. But the sense that Coyle's grip on his job was weakening was heightened by a home defeat to Crystal Palace and the 2-1 loss at the New Den which followed a 2-2 home draw with Leeds United.

Coyle said today: "I have always been driven to act in the best interests of the club and care passionately about it.

"I had fantastic times here as a player and it has been a privilege to have held the post of manager.

"I want to thank the fans for their backing since I returned, the chairman Phil Gartside and the owner Eddie Davies for their support and friendship and the club's staff and players for all their effort and commitment.

"I wish everyone connected with Bolton Wanderers all the very best."

When Coyle was appointed in January 2010 following the departure of Gary Megson, his appointment was seen as something of a scalp.

Coyle had brought Burnley up from the Championship the previous season and had seen his side beat Manchester United 1-0 at Turf Moor in what was the club's first top-flight match at home for 33 years.

Despite things going well at Burnley, the former Wanderers player found the call of a switch to the Reebok impossible to turn down.

In his first season, Bolton finished 14th but the following year was to prove more difficult. Bolton would be relegated in 2012, but the season will be best remembered for the collapse of Fabrice Muamba on the turf of White Hart Lane. Coyle acted with great dignity during that period as the midfielder recovered from his heart-attack.

Jimmy Phillips and Sammy Lee will take temporary charge of the first team squad while a new manager is sought.